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  • 2017 Municipal Election Campaign Overview

    STATE ELECTIONS ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION

    REVISED JANUARY 2017

  • 3

    Overview

    This overview has been prepared by staff of the State Elections Enforcement Commission (the Commission)

    and provides candidates, treasurers and committees with general information about the various campaign finance rules and requirements for the 2017 municipal elections. This document is not a substitute for the law,

    which can be found on the Commissions website, www.ct.gov/seec

  • 4

    Filing Repository

    In 2017, the Commission will be running a pilot program where it will serve as the filing repository for candidates and committees in the following twenty municipalities: Cheshire, Colchester, East Haddam, East Haven, Hamden, Killingworth, Manchester, Meriden, Middletown, Monroe, New Britain, New Hartford, Norwich, Pomfret, Scotland, Simsbury, Stonington, Trumbull, West Hartford, and West-port. Additional information is available for candidates in these municipalities.

    All questions related to party endorsements and ballot access should be directed to the Secretary of the States Office, Legislation and Election Administration Division, at 860-509-6100, lead@ct.gov, or www.ct.gov/sots.

    It is important to keep in mind that certain activi-ties may mean that you have officially become a candidate, even if you: have not been endorsed, have not obtained ballot access, have not officially announced your candidacy, have not filed any candidate paperwork.

    For example, if you solicit or receive a contri-bution, you have become a candidate. If you spend money to further your candidacy, even if it is your own money, you have become a candidate. If another individual, with your consent, solicits or receives a contribution or spends money on your behalf, you have become a candidate. You also become a candidate if you receive a political partys endorsement or otherwise become qualified for a position on the primary or election bal-lot, even if you have not spent or received any funds. Finally, if you register as a candidate,

    For all other municipalities, while the Commission remains responsible for monitoring compliance with campaign finance law, we are not the filing repository for candidate committees and durational political slate committees formed by or on behalf of municipal candidates in your town. Rather, your local town clerk serves as your filing repository.

    you become a candidate at that time if you havent already become one through another means.

    Please note that an individual may solicit or receive contributions on behalf of a party without becoming a candidate. An individual may also now give consent to a party commit-tee to (1) make expenditures with the intent to bring about the individuals nomination for election or election to office, or (2) solicit or receive contributions for the party com-mittee that the party committee intends to use to support that individuals nomination for election or election to office, and neither triggers the need to register as a candidate. This activity alone (without any of the other activity outlined in the paragraph above) does not make an individual a candidate or trigger the necessity to register as a candidate.

    Pilot Program

    Becoming a Candidate

    All Other Municipalities

  • 5

    Registering as a Candidate

    There are several ways in which a candidate

    may qualify for the exemption from forming

    a candidate committee.

    When completing SEEC Form 1, each candidate must indicate how their campaign will be funded by also completing either SEEC Form 1A, if he or she is registering a candidate committee, or by completing SEEC Form 1B, if he or she is filing an exemption from forming a candidate committee.

    Important Note: An individual who wishes to raise or spend campaign-related funds to test the waters, and who has not yet decided which particular municipal office to seek should contact the Candidate Services Unit at 860-256-2985 or review the Commissions Understanding the Connecticut Campaign Finance Laws: A Guide for Municipal Candidates for special rules that apply to exploratory committees. If a candidate forms an exploratory committee and decides to seek a particular office, the candidate must dissolve the exploratory committee and form a candidate committee. A candidate who has formed an exploratory committee is not eligible for any of the exemptions from forming a candidate committee.

    To register, each candidate is required to file SEEC Form 1, Registra-tion by Candidate, with the town clerk of their respective municipality (or the Commission in the case of the twenty towns participating in the pilot program) within ten days of becoming a candidate.

    Important Note: For individuals who become candidates by being endorsed by a party, it is the delivery of the endorsement paperwork to the proper authority (i.e. the town clerk) that marks the beginning of the ten day time period in which the candi-date must file his or her registration.

    The candidate designates a town committee or political slate committee as his or her sole funding source;

    1

    The candidate is funding his or her campaign entirely from personal funds;2

    The candidate does not intend to receive or spend any funds (including personal funds); or3

    The candidate does not intend to receive or spend funds in excess of $1,000 for the campaign.4

  • 6

    Choosing a Funding Vehicle

    Candidate Committees

    A candidate committee is a committee established by a single candidate to promote only that single candidates nomination or election to a specific office.

    A candidate may provide unlimited personal funds to his or her candidate committee.

    The state contractor and lobbyist campaign contribution and solicitation provisions do not apply to candidate committees formed by municipal candidates, but committee treasurers must still disclose lobbyist status when itemizing contributions in Section B of SEEC Form 20.

    A candidate in a candidate committee may benefit from organization expenditures made by party committees. (See, Understanding the Connecticut Campaign Finance Laws: A Guide for Municipal Candidates for more information about organization expenditures.)

    Once a candidate forms a candidate committee, generally the candidate may not later change his mind and form or join a political slate committee or town committee slate.

    Following are some characteristics of the different funding vehicles available to

    candidates for municipal office:

  • 8

    Choosing a Funding Vehicle

    Following are some characteristics of the different funding vehicles available to

    candidates for municipal office:

    Political Slate Committees

    A political slate committee is a type of durational (single election cycle) political committee formed by two or more candidates within the same municipality, who seek election in the same primary or election, and who authorize such committee as their SOLE funding source.

    Important Note: The law does not provide for a political slate committee to serve as the sole funding source for a slate of one candidate. The only exception is when the candidates on the slate are in a primary and only one candidate on the slate wins the primary, in which case that single candidate may continue with the political slate committee through the general election.

    The treasurer of a political slate committee must disclose all contributions received and expenditures made to promote the candidates on the committee on its financial disclosure statements filed with the town clerk.

    A candidate in a political slate committee may only contribute up to $1,000 per calendar year to the committee, which is the individual contribution limit to a political slate committee.

    A candidate in a political slate committee may not receive the benefit of organization expenditures from a party committee. The political slate committee is permitted to receive contributions (includ-ing in-kind contributions) of up to $1,500 per calendar year from a town committee and up to $2,500 per calendar year from a state central committee.

    The state contractor and lobbyist campaign contribution and solicitation provisions do not apply to political slate committees, but committee treasurers must still disclose lobbyist status when itemiz-ing contributions in Section B of SEEC Form 20.

  • 9

    Town Committees

    The candidate may designate a town committee as the SOLE funding source for the campaign as long as the town committee will be serving as the funding source for at least one other candi-date. Unlike candidate and political slate committees, town committees are ongoing committees established by a political party and affiliated at the municipal or town level.

    Important Note: The law does not provide for a town committee to serve as the sole funding source for a slate of one candidate. The only exception is when the candidates on the slate are in a primary and only one candidate on the slate wins the primary, in which case that single candi-date may continue with the town committee through the general election. Before designating a town committee as the sole funding source, a candidate should contact the town committee treasurer to confirm that the town committee will be funding a slate of two or more candidates.

    The town committee treasurer will oversee raising and spending funds to promote the municipal candidates that are financed by the town committee.

    The town committee treasurer must disclose all contributions received and expenditures made to promote the municipal candidates being funded by the committee on its financial disclosure statem